computer performers, and the art of being on stage.

30 September 2013 § Leave a comment

Okay. I could have titled this better. Don’t worry about that.

I’m concerned for your future live music experiences: they are in grave danger of becoming tedious and wearisome affairs whose facilitators’ bad posture and lack of communication with the audience threaten to forsake you, the paying attendee, the party-goer, the dancer, the let-looser.

Somewhere between the era of LP-addled radio stations where disc jockeys sold us on their favorite music (or that which record companies wanted us to buy), and the evolution of the MacBook Pro as a musical instrument, the attention of the audience wandered, listened to whatever happened to be on the station or stage. We the audience, lacking direction, sought pints of beer and electronic cigarettes to complement our inhibitions around dancing our asses off.

Luckily, this was not entirely our fault: massive collections of sheep-like humans who are corralled by electronic sound waves into the fenced and walled barriers around stages designed to keep our attention (bright, moving lights; BIG sound; pretty people) have been deprived recently of an important element left to rock, metal, and hip-hop.

The vital element of conversation as it pertains to musical performance determines the connection between musician and audience. 

When I had a narrower taste in music, and attended death, black, or doom metal shows every week (a wide diversification, I know – but listen to Burzum, then Cattle Decapitation, and you’ll know, too) – to keep in line with elitist opinions, add to my arsenal of black t-shirts, save money on import fees on CDs which at the time were not distributed in the US, and – most importantly – to spend as many sets as physically possible rocking out in the mosh pit, I learned how to converse with my favorite musicians, whether they were on stage, or smoking pot behind the venue.

They wanted chaos in the audience, and if we were still, they would ask for it. Demand, at times. We’d form circle pits and walls of death (where the crowd divided, each half moving toward a side of the floor, then, at the drop, ran toward each other at full speed), ecstatic for the opportunity to release whatever angst, anger, sadness, or joy we’d been carrying. Sometimes, it was like Fight Club, except with a better soundtrack.

The models of character musicians to me were invaluable: grown men – and some women – dressed in black leather with metal spikes jutting from their wrists, necks, and shins, who wore masks and face paint and whose vocal cords were formed more like steel cables than organic tissue – intertwined examples of owning their musicianship and theatrical performance. The blast beat or drone of the music was but one element of the shows, and so inspired by that madness and musical alchemy was the 17-year-old Sean that I decided that, while I had only a smattering of desire to someday partake in being on stage, I wanted to be a part of it by way of wanting the sound to befit the grandiosity of the performance. In the midst of my love affair with all musical things heavy, dark, and metallic, I went to school for audio engineering to learn how to polish the monolithic shows that had so enraptured me.

<<>>

Fast forward ten years.

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Needless to say, sound engineering and manipulation gained me an appreciation for music and performance that I had never before been open to. Interning at recording studios and running live sound squashed every cultural attachment I had to the correlation of my personal identity and the genres of music I listened to. Riding my bike around the playa of Black Rock City, as one example, caught me loving punk and metal again, and by night partner blues fusion dancing to Random Rab, or Kyrstyn Pixton.

What confuses me now is that when I attend shows by electronic musicians in Portland, the audience demographic transmogrifies into a beer-drinking, bearded man who does not move his body under any circumstances whatever. At a downtempo set on the playa, it is guaranteed that most people dance. The same set at a club in Portland will see a dance floor of still humans with pints in one hand, the other hand in a pocket. Talking amongst themselves.

This sounds like judgment; in truth it is curiosity laden with my annoyance with having not the space to dance, and wondering, who pays $14 to stand there and stare at a plain-dressed kid hunched over his laptop? Because I do that at home, but the lights on my stereo are equally entertaining. 

Every concert and show I’ve attended and performed (which together number in hundreds) has taught me one succinct lesson: the energy on stage and the energy in the audience mirror one another. Presenting one’s music can be a performance (done internally, for the self), or a conversation for and with those whom support your art. If you want the audience to dance, say so. Into the mic, Say more than Thank You, Do You Want One More?

This is an open request to performers, particularly those who employ computers as their instruments: pay attention to your presentation, and to your audience. Music is but one element of the performance. I will enjoy the show so much more if I experience your soul interwoven with it. Set your computer higher; stand up straight. Keep a mic nearby. It is your responsibility as performer to source only 50% of the set’s energy –  the rest belongs to the crowd.

If you’re not feeling it, be assured that neither are we; and if we’re not, then for whom are you performing, and with whom are you conversing? 

wondering around the pantry

14 February 2013 § Leave a comment

A wet afternoon breeze swirls through the fluorescent room. Cools the face of the man standing in the pantry. He leans over the half-door out of his box office and offers food to whomever walks through the heavy glass doors. We are in the foyer of a church in downtown Portland. The rough brick walls, tile floor, and industrial door handles recall the interior design of a prison. Across from the food closet, backpacks and sleeping bags and coffee-stained paper cups sit on the floor. The breeze carries aromas of body odor and patchouli through the room.

“Hey, you got any free food?”

The inquirer jams his foot in the door and pokes his face through the crack. Neither in or out, he looks expectantly at Tom, the curly-haired man in the closet. “Come on in,” Tom replies.

“We’ve got food bags,” he says, “and there’s more under the counter. Help yourself to one. How are you today?”

The man rustles through the paper bags. He doesn’t reply. Sniffs the food. “This all you got,” he says.

It’s not a question.

Type ‘food pantry portland’ into Google, and more than sixty resources come up. Churches, shelters, state-funded soup kitchens, volunteer-run sandwich lines. Some provide food all day, every day; others for two hours once every other week. Saint André Bessette  in downtown Portland (601 W Burnside) provides a food pantry Monday through Thursday, 1:00 to 2:30 pm, and a variety of other services throughout the week, such as prescription vouchers, art classes, foot care, haircuts, and clothes. They provide things that keep hope alive – community, phones, vision assistance.

“We get more than 180 people coming in every day for morning services,” says Tom Nass, a volunteer for Jesuit Volunteer Corps. He works in the Saint André pantry, a closet sized-room packed with paper bags full of donated food. He’s built like a football player, and his smile reaches either side of the door frame. Above his head, a colorful stained glass light fixture depicts Peace and Charity as tenets of lives well lived. Nass committed to a year of volunteering with the Corps. Four months in, he says he loves it.

Nass says his hometown, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – a city of similar size to Portland – has “way fewer” resources available to the homeless. And midwest winters make Oregon a welcome vacation: on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, Tom is wearing shorts and a t-shirt. The startling contrast between the volunteer and those coming in parkas and raincoats looking for food boxes makes me wonder if they understand each other.

The abundance of resources can be counterproductive, according to Nass. “It enables the mentality of complacency in the homeless. They have everything they need – food, shelter in some senses, and many just stay in the same spot for weeks.” Some store their stuff in the Saint Andre Bessette foyer, others in more creative places. Portland fenced off the undersides of bridges years ago, popular sleeping spots worldwide for protection from the elements.

From one perspective, prohibiting under-the-bridge living closed up the holes and encouraged those in hiding to live out in the open, in the streets, parks, and squares. Equal opportunity for all.

With copious resource support from the community, I wonder what motivation is there to “clean up” and get “back on one’s feet”? At first glance, the tanked job economy barely allows for those already with jobs to get by. And the tried and failed tactic of yelling “get a job” to everyone with a cardboard sign has not only long been a source of shame, but creates an increasingly negative association with an already malignant stereotype.

As the man walks out empty handed with a scowl and Tom Nass closes up shop, I wonder if this could all be done better. If the food handed out at pantries and food banks was higher quality. If there were more semi-permanent-to-temporary housing situations available, like Transition Projects. If police, journalists, health care providers, the rich, the homeless, the overprivileged white people of the world – everyone – were kinder and more compassionate.

If, or when?

lost, wander, love.

19 April 2012 § 3 Comments

We learn best of great love in moments of madness and weakness. It happens upon us when we least expect; while en route to the next chapter of a journey, one in which we have been charged with a purpose – whether it is to lust for wonder or to wander, lost.

Rarely does one find love by searching for it. There are no clues laying about to lead you left or right at a traffic light, nor is there a magic 8-ball to say whether it is wrong to get on a plane headed for some distant land. These answers come from within, from depths that we are not daily familiar with. When they speak up, be their sound of butterflies or hurricanes, it is our choice to listen, or to not. It is our option to acknowledge with our logical minds what our spirits know already – love is their reaching out to another they recognize, or would like to engage for a while.

Sometimes, our logical minds look at another person and say “she is beautiful” or “he is confident and strong,” but spirits are not so easily fooled as their bodies. Even the person who is not so in touch with what goes on inside them knows whether there is a connection. Sometimes, if there is not, we will pursue it regardless, because we fancy the form, or feel that we may not find, or do not deserve, a better match.

So much of what people think is love is not. It is often quite the opposite. Love is not convenience. It is not complimentary language, or even great sex. Love does not manifest, or necessarily last, solely because “he is the father of my children,” or because a couple has history together.

Yet we can learn to love, and to choose to. It is an arduous dig inward, one we must undertake on our own, but that we cannot take without someone to see us through it. But again, not every excavation is love. We can dig and dig and uncover things about ourselves which we did not know before, and when we find them it is not always an easy process to accept them, or let them go, let alone to give them to another.

We must chip at the walls we’ve built from brick and mortar to protect ourselves from all that is not love. One needn’t look far to find castles or great walls to protect kingdoms and fortunes. We protect what we value. If our walls are immense, it is because the attacks have been often, or fierce – or both. We build them for survival. Once a war has finished, a ruler does not order his castle walls to be dismantled. They should remain standing, for protection against future enemies. Against the unforeseen.

That which we cannot see, which resides before us – lo que no podemos ver a frente de nosotros – the Unknown, is as scary as it is beautiful. It can take the form of a vital philosopher from whom we learn our next lesson, an enemy from whom we learn strategy, or love, for which we must break down walls to accept. This is difficult because all of them are at once threats to how we operate, how we think, and to what we think is right.

School throughout childhood forms our basis of ideas and truths; further education is for those open to the possibility that all what we’ve learned before is nonsense, and should teach us first how to discard what is false, and then how to recognize truth for us, before attempting to teach us what is true for them. For how else can we hope to know love when it comes rambling down our path? Otherwise we might run off the road and hide in the bushes, to watch the lovely maiden skipping by, basket in hand and full of what she had to offer us. Her transparency attracts us, the cloth over the basket her mystery, tempting us to ask “What of you is in there?”

Once we reach within ourselves and learn what are threats we must avoid, and what threats we should embrace – that is, dangers to our sense of self and to belief systems long-held but perhaps not long-interrogated – and trust those instincts without hesitation, we too can be transparent.

Give bricks away to those who ask for them. Give them to strangers, and let them see through the hole where stone once was. Being seen is more liberating than watching. Step up to the microphone and shed your skin. Be vulnerable. Offer your truth as best you know it, and if it’s time, let it melt and change form. Melt it down yourself on rainy days inside.  With what remains, we can detach ourselves from the pasts that bind us, those we wrap our arms around in protest of letting go, because without what we were, what are we now?

We are the unknown – philosophers, the enemies of our walls, the mystery skipping down someone’s path.

Give up nothing; instead, let it go.

America Starves Herself Silent: A Call to Link Arms.

25 March 2012 § 1 Comment

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, has banned the donation of food to homeless shelters in his city.

He’s enacted the anti-food policy because he, his food task force, and the NYC Department of Health (together dubbed the ‘food police’) want to keep better track of the nutritional needs of homeless in New York. The Department of Health Commissioner Seth Diamond insists that the ban is consistent with a government effort to improve everyone’s health.

The donations are to be turned away because the salt, fat, and fiber contents in them cannot be verified, which defies new regulations which require of all food now served in government-run shelters. The good deeds of local bakers, restaurateurs, and shops who have donated food to the homeless for years, even decades, are now being rejected. Diamond says that the food they donate really isn’t needed.

Naturally, those who donate the food, such as Glenn Richter and his wife Lenore, of Ohab Zedek, a synagogue on the Upper West Side, and those who eat the donated food, such as Jeff Stier, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, disagree.

It’s not difficult to understand the aesthetic, well-intentioned nature of such policies. If the true motive is for the homeless to be healthier, there is nobility in the actions of Bloomberg’s so-called Food Police.

Given that New York City is in the United States, however, where people were once free to eat, pray, and love as they pleased, governmental micromanagement to this extent is intolerable, and unacceptable.

Just down the road, in Philadelphia, feedings to the homeless were banned in city parks, supposedly to protect homeless from “foodborne illness.” Family picnics and gatherings around food are still allowed in city parks.

In February, Alaska Rep. Bill Stoltze refused to call a hearing to discuss Senate Bill 3, which would provide 15 cents to lunches and .35 to breakfasts in Alaska public schools. Stoltze’s argument? He wanted to use that money on another bill that would improve the health of the state’s children by providing Alaska-grown and caught foods.

A local Anchorage activist, Kokayi Nosakhere, sat outside the representative’s office in Juneau, on a month-long food strike, trying to get Stoltze to call a hearing on Senate Bill 3. The politician never budged. Neither did his other proposed bill.

These events are not isolated or coincidental, just as the same-day crackdown on Occupy protests across the U.S. last October was not an accidental act of desperation by the threatened Powers That Be.

Now, it’s personal. It’s about food – that most basic resource that we all require, regardless of politics or social standing. If governments control the food supply (i.e. restrict resources) more than they already do, they control the people’s ability to act – to protest, to speak up, to rally, to say that No, We Won’t Have This.

Two months ago, SOPA and PIPA, acts that would have effectively shut down the internet, came dangerously close to being passed. Only what began as a grassroots movement against the bills kept them from passing. For every one law that people stand up against, twenty are passed under the radar.

Notice how the food policies are not beginning in the House of Representatives or the Senate. Just as film production companies screen ‘risky’ films in selected, representative locations (does the line “‘Love Story’ opens in NY and LA August 4th, everywhere August 15th” ring a bell?), the mayoral puppets of Government are trying out these tactics in smaller waves to see how people react to them.

If we don’t say anything, what will come next? If the Egyptian protesters in Tahrir Square went home after then-president Mubarak told them to, where would have gone the Arab Spring? Libyans had to declare war on their dictator Muammar Gaddafi before he paid any attention to them. How far will America have to go?

The U.S. Constitution is a tourist trap, and means less now than it ever has. Corporations have been considered people for a hundred years. Our presidents are elected not based on their worth or potential, but how much money they pour into advertising. Peaceful protests are made violent by those sworn to protect and serve Us.

Now regional governments are limiting food supplies to children and the homeless, who are instead to be provided by institutional vendors serving genetically modified food that Americans have said with their silence that they didn’t care to have marked as such.

As a result of that silence, kids are hitting puberty earlier than ever, having been raised on hormone-injected meat from animals who grew fat without ever gaining the strength or dexterity to stand. Multinational corporations that control food sources have been in bed with government for years.

Make no mistake: the Democrats and Republicans, no longer a unified America, have created those hormone-injected animals out of the American people, unable (but perhaps not unwilling) to stand and speak against the political atrocities made against them.

The generations who wield control say that it’s too late to change things – that we’re in a downward spiral, and no one’s got the will to throw us out of it. Understand this: that’s what the Powers are counting on. They want submission; they feed off silence like a bad relationship, and direct us in whatever direction they wish.

Control best operates on three basic concepts: fear, greed, and laziness. All are childish virtues to hold, and yet the world’s powers use them in the face of even the largest protests and strikes.

We are capable of moving past them, of taking back our most basic resources. Of protecting and serving ourselves when those ‘sworn’ to battle us. We are capable of feeding our children.

We are the children of the internet. We are supposed to be the Y Generation, the insatiable children who ask Why? Why? Why?

We are the freest, most globalized organization of rebels history has ever known. Our ambition matches those of the corporations and governments who seek to no end our loyalty. So ask yourself, why else is our loyalty so important to them?

 

It’s not just about money. It’s about something bigger and more drastic than paper currency made by a private company that is employed by a government that we have the power, by our most basic rights, to redesign from the inside, out.

 

Initiating change takes the will to step outside ignorance, to learn about what’s happening – events that penetrate deep into our lives and homes – and to do something about them. It takes the willingness to stand on anothers’ shoulders to make the mountain less daunting, and the presence of mind to hold our ground when we are threatened. We have been tested before, and have succeeded. It’s time to stand again.

Spread the word: share this, send it to your friends, reblog it, repost it. If you know of a publication which might put it up, please let me know.

hey, i’m in a relationship. what now?

20 February 2012 § 3 Comments

Question for women: how important is it for you to be known to a new significant other’s world – that is, to his family and friends, regardless of what they mean to him, or how often he is in contact with them?

Now, context: I’m a relatively private person, and don’t care much for what people in my world – in my life – think of what I’m doing, where I am, who I’m with, etc. I don’t see it as much of their business, mostly because of how disconnected I am from them. (Though I will grant them this: I have created this disconnect myself, at no fault of theirs but being subject to an era where information is everything and everywhere, i.e. facebook).

I would much rather tell someone over a phone call or, at the very least, an email about what’s going on, and what’s going on with me. Perhaps because I’ve given much to my connections over the years and never received much back, and now I’m exacting a miniature revenge on my loved ones. Status updates and profile changes, for some reason just don’t cut it for me. How evil and inconsiderate is that?

What I understand from Heather – My New Girlfriend – and other women, nevertheless, is that in order to feel special, to feel through action instead of merely words that they mean, that an active acknowledgement, in some form, would be appropriate, if indeed I want to pursue a relationship? And what would that action mean? Mentioning it to the people I am in contact with most often makes the most sense to me, but is this enough? Is the relationship status on facebook really that important?

The next logical argument might be, Sean, what’s your problem, man – if you like her and want to be with her, why not just tell people, or short of that, why make a big deal out of her request for acknowledgement? If it’s not that important to you, then why not just do it?

I’d hate to break out the “because I want to know WHY it’s so important” reply, not because it either 1) works, 2) makes me seem deep, or 3) drives people up the wall, but rather because it’s something that I don’t understand, and would like to. I don’t have a pressing need to be known to her world, and have no problem if she doesn’t say anything about me to anyone: our connection is between us, and the only time it includes others is in the immediate present (and we’re traveling, or rather at the moment, living in a small town, with an even smaller community of ex-pats and good friends, so that’s quite understandable). Therefore, outside of that immediate present, what do I need from the rest of her world? Nothing, really.

Maybe because she’s way out of my league and I still don’t quite get why she’s sticking around for me. Of all the non-committal, whimsical, aloof and indecisive people she could choose from, she picked the best one from all of the above.

So here I am, relishing in her presence and the selfish thought of what kind of person I can improve into by being around her and her hard questions, by having a person to bounce my ideas off without the ten pages of scrawling it might take otherwise (and likely not even then) to clarify. I write less around her, of my own unfortunate accord, and she limits nothing in me that I do not limit myself to. But I do not slip into my oldself as often, and I’m thankful for that. A year ago, I was coming to terms with surviving, feeding off the energy of THC and revolution, and now I’m doing everything I’ve set in motion, going to places, once again, that I never thought I’d go, speaking other languages, and even feeling productive and *gasp* happy sometimes.

Once again, an adventure I’m not sure I’m ready for. Here we go.

(As a sidenote, I introduced my good friend Ed Gish, an 83-year-old, oldschool Hollywood writer, to Buddy Wakefield’s performance poetry today, and he cried. I’m proud of myself for that.)

what’s your story?

8 June 2011 § Leave a comment

Every time I pick up a Rolling Stone magazine, I devour it. Every article on washed out rock stars and corrupt politicians, album review, and the shorts on ‘upcoming’ artists. Of course, they’re not really all that ‘upcoming’ – they were in a ton of industry rags before the downsized-but-still-elegant pages of Rolling Stone. I miss those, too.

I used to work in music. In fact, when most of my graduating class was taking Music Appreciation and History 101, I was playing on SSL mixing desks in audio engineering school and hanging out with KRS-One. A couple of years later, I landed an internship at one of the coolest studios in the Southeast US. I sat in on intimate sessions and recorded takes that you’d never hear on a record. I learned from one of the best engineers around. I drove rock stars around town to buy liquor and weed, and dumped ashtrays at industry parties until the sun came up, or until I was too fucked up to walk straight.

But none of that really matters.

When I’m pressed for my story, that five year blip in my life usually comes up. And then, I usually say, I dropped everything, let everything in my life collapse, and drove from Florida to Alaska – home, more or less – to be a commercial fisherman. Depending on whom I’m speaking with, I’ll go on to talk about my travels or how happy I’ve been since all that – how liberating it is being out on the sea, not having a punchcard or a schedule, to take that money and buy a plane ticket to go who-knows-where, to live the way I want to live, without much regard for anyone or anything around me.

There’s a lot of truth in that. There’s also a lot I’m leaving out, like how much I want to return to the music industry. I miss being a part of pop culture, of being in it, completely wrapped up in the lights and faux glamour and the sound. Oh god, the sound. It’s the music that I miss. Making it sound good, and learning how to make it sound better.

The people and the beauty and the connections, which are mostly bland, superficial, and easily forgotten, all leave a lot to be desired, but they have an ironic, amusing charm that I haven’t encountered before or since.

If I’ve pieced together this new life with which I can do anything because everything is possible, then I should be able to say to myself ‘hey, if you want to work in music, then do it.’ But it’s not as simple as that: for me, that would be a regression in the worst way: how can I go from this state of idealistic enlightenment (which lasted about thirty seconds, sometime in the last couple of years) back to that boombox world of cellophane and love songs?

Perhaps it’s that I’ve started in on another education, having all but given up on working in music, when I still owe a certain ex-girlfriend’s parent for paying off my tuition. Perhaps it would be the starting over, from the bottom, working fifty hours a week for rice grains again, wiping spilled beer off the mixer and wrapping urine-soaked cables up to use the next night. One month, my power bill dropped to twentysomething dollars simply because I was never at home, and I remember how silently proud I was. The late Thursday nights as a freelance sound guy, working on dilapidated PA systems in fluorescent-lit bars, walking out of a gypsy extravaganza at 4 a.m. with a few free beers and a twenty dollar bill in my pocket. Sometimes, the band outnumbered the crowd they played for. Sometimes, those were the best shows.

Sometimes, they covered my electricity bill.

I biked ten miles home, always somewhere between the dark and the orange streetlights, soaking in that glistening texture of clarity that draped over the rolling hills, then vanished into the rich neighborhoods, with houses made of custom this and antique that. I geared up just past the I-40 bridge and flew down the smooth, winding asphalt with the newly painted lines. An LED headlight wrapped itself on the handlebars and showed me the way. It was forever on the dimmest setting, which for some reason shone brighter in the deer’s eyes when they crossed the road, deciding whether or not they would fight the stereotype that night. How often they had chosen in my favor I do not know, but I thanked them for the consideration nonetheless.

What I arrived to from those rides – the house where another life lived up to itself – is another story, for another time. For it was the world I was escaping from when I walked into the church cathedral that served as our _______ recording space to set up microphones that would record the earth’s rumblings.

The world of the awake, as I called it. When you know you’re in a dream, you have unlimited control, if you know how to harness it. I could harness it in at work, where I belonged, and at home I didn’t have to.

It was more necessary to me than than mere work, what I was doing. I was working for a purpose, toward a tangible goal that I could see and feel and hear and taste. Anything I did in the process of attaining it had only the best intentions, or was, at worst, immediately forgivable.

How delusional we can be sometimes.

How delusional I can be sometimes.

I was full of hope and ambition. And I knew everything. But I wonder, what would that me think of me now? Like we discussed, there’s no sense in taking stock in what others think of us, but what about our own opinions of us? Shouldn’t we mind them?

Perhaps all those lifetimes ago I was privy to something now I am not, and I must learn it again, because I lost it along the way. Maybe that’s why I feel I must travel. Who knows where knowledge lies, under rugs or manhole covers, over decadent mountains, in the off-white sea foam?

It’s time to sleep by now, certainly.

learn to take a compliment. jesus.

1 April 2011 § Leave a comment

Twice in a week I’ve been subject to some sort of complimentary praise for my writing on this site. It’s important to note that I did not bribe them into saying those things, and any truth in them is probably still up in the air. I’ve learned to take the more subtle signs of appreciation in stride: ever since my article on pot inked, my editor makes sure to ask if I’m high at the office. I may have asked for that, but at least I know he read it.

I also learned today that there are other people who have gone through the tragedy of losing a notebook. – And this ties in with why I’m here right now, so stay with me (I know I’m a little off-kilter in person, but character is determined by how we react to the world around us, so let’s balance the world out with some forgiveness, can we?).

A couple of weeks before New York, on some terrible night after I had crashed my car and afterward bought the Suzuki lawnmower sedan, I lost my moleskine that I had started on the Europe trip in December. It was precious to me, sure, but I blocked the longing with some positive thought about how the reward for returning to the owner I’d written on the inside cover was ‘truth’ instead of dollars, and maybe someone found it entertaining and kept it. Hey, I’m okay with that. That was the point, get it out in the world and out of my head.

Yeah. Sure.

So I stopped writing for a while, and instead concentrated on writing for the paper. It’s a different sort of style entirely, and I can feel it affecting this, here, now. Time is an illusion. You’re meant to be here now, because it’s all there is, and more importantly, it’s all you have.

“God damn his possessions! What we’re after is what they are as men.”

Remember that, sean. Write your play. After reading that last script, and editing those reviews, you can do anything.

Buddy Wakefield came up here last week. He is the first person I’ve ever heard invite me to participate a little more in my existence, and for more than a few very basic reasons, this saddens me. But having that seat beside to take my heartache and put it aside for the evening was more than I would have asked for.

He said a lot of real shit. And it takes the cover of poetry to tell us these things which would have been great to know back in the day, but it’s okay because when we learn it ourselves, we can better recognize it’s description later, and then refine it. So that’s what I’m doing. Refining the message.

Which is okay, right? I have to ask because my willingness to overcome my purpose sometimes gets the best of me.

My audacity on my own terms is perfectly acceptable to me: when I am alone, something like hitchhiking across a country doesn’t sound in the least bit crazy – by the time someone else reacts to that, I’m already planning my route. And even with other people, I push the bounds until I know where they are, and then push a little more to see if it’s real. Sometimes it is, and that’s where truth lies. Break out the xtra-tuffs; it’s messy in here.

But I think that I can never be too audacious when I’m talking about me – the less you know, the better, and I’ll tell you only enough to get by. Self-promotion is out of the question. I don’t want to tell you what I’ve done, or where I’ve been. But then it comes up, and it’s awkward, and I’m more inclined to tell you the truth about that trip instead of the fabulous and unrealistic details you’re asking about. And if more people knew the individual truths about travel, less people would do it. But those who find it, must. I can’t stress this enough, but I also could not give you a more sincere suggestion than to step out of your life and go travel the world for a couple of years – hit the road hard, non-stop, and never say ‘no’ to an experience.

I’m digressing from some point I had an hour ago, all of it a distraction, a thought exercise so I don’t have to think about that. Read your books. They can say it better than you are.

I’m up with you, Libya. Never stop fighting.

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